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June - July 2009



by Neeraj Arora

The BACL mission to promote Asians in the Conservative party and British politics has now touched new heights. You could rightly proclaim that the get-together on 26th March at Laguna Banquet hall in West London was the beginning of a new beginning. The BACL team, distinguished guests from the Conservative party, leading local businessmen, members of the British Asian media and guest speakers resonated with one voice and concurred on a common mission. Everyone pledged to contribute and support efforts to ensure a wider role for British Asians in National politics.

L to R: Ranbir Suri, Chairman, BACL; Ricki Sehgal, Gen. Sec. BACL; Alok Sharma, Conservative parliamentary candidate from Reading West

Ranbir Suri, Chairman of the BACL earlier welcomed the guests and applauded interest shown by the local community and the Asian media in the BACL campaign to promote Asians in British politics. In his address to the audience, Rickie Sehgal, General Secretary of the BACL, outlined their desire and determination to see four to five of their PPC’s become MPs in the next Conservative Government. He reiterated the BACL’s commitment to continue working hard to help carry forward the Conservative message to Asian voters, as well as to encourage more Asians to join the BACL.

Sir George Young MP

Dolar Popat, chairing Q&A session

The gala dinner marked as “BACL’s Got Talent” was held to raise funds and showcase British Asian talent in the Conservative ranks of British politics. The event was over-subscribed and the welcome committee received over 180 guests compared to 150 guests originally anticipated. Four Conservative Prospective Parliamentary candidates namely Alok Sharma, Priti Patel, Rahoul Bhansali and Cllr Gurcharan Singh were the star guests and key speakers for the evening. It is worth mentioning that all four of the above started their political journey from the grassroots of the Conservative Party and are now our best candidates for the future. The BACL is confident that they will succeed in the next general election and hopes that they will be given major ministerial roles in the next Conservative government.

L to R: Priti Patel, Conservative parliamentary candidate from Witham; Rahoul Bansali Conservative parliamentary candidate from Croydon; Mr Gurcharan Singh, Conservative parliamentary candidate from Ealing &Southall

In fact, all four PPCs proved that they are worthy candidates for Government, having expert knowledge of the serious social, political and economic matters that our country faces today. In a Q&A session chaired by Mr Dolar Popat, they were concise and thorough in answering a wide-range of complex questions on national and international issues including the economic slowdown, debt crisis, house prices, inheritance tax, crime, health under the NHS, education, immigration, the environment and climate change.

Sir George Young MP thanked the British Asian Conservative Link (BACL) on behalf of over two hundred Conservative MPs for its sustained efforts over the last ten years in promoting Asians in British politics and helping the Asian voters to understand Conservative values and ethos. He rightly noted that the propagation of ideas has always been two-ways. It is thanks to the contribution of the BACL that the Conservative party has become increasingly aware of the concerns and aspirations of British Asian voters. Richard Barnes, Deputy Mayor of London also praised the BACL for the constructive work it has been doing for many years.

L: Audience at the ‘BACL’s Got Talent’ dinner; R:Alok Sharma & Priti Patel

Members of the Asian media and prominent local Asians including Mr C B Patel from Gujraat Samachar, Mr Krishan Ralleigh from India Link, Mr Jayanti Solanki and Mr Kulwant Singh from Gaarvi Gujarat, Arjan Vekaria from Vascroft and Vijay Goel from Singhania, applauded the work the BACL has been doing. They were unanimous that much more work still needs to be done to ensure the success of Asians in British Politics. They should rise above narrow personal interests to secure victory for the Asian candidates in the upcoming elections.

Rickie Sehgal said “there is undoubtedly an urgent need to increase efforts. The BACL will be planning campaigns to help our candidates with both human resources and financial assistance to win in their constituencies.” He then encouraged the audience to join the BACL and in so doing to empower the organisation to meet its objectives.

It was not all political: comedy jihad with Jeff Mirza added to buzz and excitement. Auction and raffle by celebrity auctioneer Rakesh Dua helped raise much-needed funds to support BACL political champions in the upcoming elections. Finally the evening concluded with a note of thanks by Ravi Gidar, Regional Secretary of the BACL.

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